Shell Gives Offshore Rights to Nature Conservancy
Shell Canada has voluntarily contributed offshore rights to the Nature Conservancy of Canada to support the establishment of a national marine conservation area off the coast of Nunavut.
Shell has presented the Nature Conservancy of Canada with more than 860,000 hectares (8,625 km2) of offshore exploratory permits in the waters of Baffin Bay, near Lancaster Sound. This represents an area larger than Banff National Park.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has subsequently released the permits to the Government of Canada in readiness for a marine conservation initiative. Shell says expanding the proposed Lancaster Sound conservation area would positively respond to Inuit aspirations to protect their traditional territory, and support the federal government’s target of protecting at least 10 percent of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2020 – an international target under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
Lancaster Sound is the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage, the legendary corridor through Canada’s Arctic Archipelago. It is an area of critical ecological importance to marine mammals, including seals, narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales, as well as walrus and polar bears. It is bordered by some of the most important seabird breeding colonies in the Arctic, with populations totalling in the hundreds of thousands.
As a supporter of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s conservation program, Shell has contributed more than $6.5 million in financial resources, land and mineral rights to the organization over the past 30 years. Shell made similar gifts to Canadians when it contributed rights to the Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, and the Mount Broadwood Heritage Conservation Area.